This is a printer friendly page
Free for educational use
Video clip synopsis – A small lifeboat, retrieved from the shores of Gallipoli, is a direct link to the first Anzacs and the day that helped forge Australia’s identity.
Year of production - 2004
Duration - 5min 0sec
Tags - ANZAC, Australian History, commemoration, Gallipoli, heritage, World War 1, see all tags


Gallipoli Boat

How to Download the Video Clip

To download a free copy of this Video Clip choose from the options below. These require the free Quicktime Player.

download clip icon Premium MP4 gallipol_pr.mp4 (36.9MB).

ipod icon Broadband MP4 gallipol_bb.mp4 (17.4MB), suitable for iPods and computer downloads.

Additional help.

About the Video Clip


Gallipoli Boat is an episode of the series National Treasures produced in 2004.

Gallipoli Boat
How did a lifeboat, left to rot on the shores of Gallipoli, come to have pride of place at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra? Curator John White tells the story of this little boat’s tumultuous journey as Warren Brown helps us imagine what it was like for those first Anzacs on the day that helped forge Australia’s identity.

National Treasures
Take a road-trip of discovery with the irrepressible Warren Brown – political cartoonist, columnist and history “tragic” – as he reveals a fascinating mix of national treasures drawn from public and private collections across Australia. On its own, each treasure is a priceless snapshot of an historic moment. Together, they illustrate the vitality and uniqueness of the Australian experience.

National Treasures is a Film Australia National Interest Program. Produced with the assistance of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Curriculum Focus


Students will develop knowledge, understanding and skills to critically and historically interpret art informed by their understanding of practice, the conceptual framework and the frames.

A student
5.7 applies their understanding of aspects of practice to critical and historical interpretations of art

5.8 uses their understanding of the function of and relationship between artist – artwork – world – audience in critical and historical interpretations of art

5.9 demonstrates how the frames provide different interpretations of art.

This material is an extract. Teachers and students should consult the Board of Studies website for more information.

Background Information


In 1915 Australian troops were part of an Allied landing at Gallipoli, Turkey.

The aim was to open a way for Allied ships to attack Constantinople, thereby allowing supply ships to help Russia in its fight against Germany. Turkey, an ally of Germany, controlled the Straits of the Dardanelles, stopping supply ships from entering the Black Sea and sailing to the main Russian port of Odessa. Allied troops would land at Gallipoli, move overland and capture the Turkish guns that were overlooking the Straits, and then Allied ships could sail through safely to bombard and capture Constantinople, forcing Turkey to surrender.

This was the first engagement of the war in which Australian troops had been involved in large numbers as part of an international group — it was commonly seen as their ‘test’ as a nation.

The invasion troops were brought into the area on naval ships, then loaded on lifeboats, and rowed silently into shore during darkness, just before dawn.

The result was a disaster. The landing troops did not manage to move up from the coast to seize the Turkish guns, and naval ships that tried to force their way up the Straits were sunk by mines. However, stories sent back from the landing by British and Australian journalists praised the fighting qualities of the Australian troops — they had passed the test.

Nine months after the landing, all Allied troops were withdrawn.

Despite the tactical failure of the landing, it has been commemorated ever since in Australia as our most significant national day, with ANZAC Day becoming a nationally observed day since 1927.

Classroom Activities

  1. What is this boat?
  2. Why is it in the Australian War Memorial?
  3. What was its role at Gallipoli?
  4. What happened to it?
  5. When was it brought back to Australia?
  6. The boat had to be partly wrecked to bring it back — should this have been done, or should it have been left where it was as a memorial there?
    How do artists represent the war experience?
  7. Go to the Australian War Memorial site, click on Collection Databases, then Collections Search. Type in Art Gallipoli or Art Western Front for World War I. This will give you several hundred art pieces in each category. Distribute some of these to groups, and analyse these works for style, content and meanings or messages.
  8. You could then compare these with works by other First World War artists — such as the Briton Paul Nash, or the German Otto Dix. You will find some at Art of the First World War. Or you could compare them with Australian artists from another war. Compare the findings, and discuss the similarities and differences.
  9. How does editing affect the image of war that can be created in film? Look in the library for the kit The Western Front, distributed to all schools by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in 2006. On the CD-ROM look at the film editing exercise. Discuss how editing can influence the way war can be represented.
  10. Does art represent the reality of war? Select some documents from that kit, and compare them with the image created by art or film. Discuss your conclusions.

Further Resources


For more National Treasures and video clips go to Investigating National Treasures